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Shower curtains are one of the most common places where you’ll see mold and mildew growth within the home. They are often left damp for long periods of time and if they’re not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, they can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria. This may leave you wondering, how to clean a plastic shower curtain or should you just replace it.
It might be tempting when you begin to see discoloration or stains on your shower curtain, to simply toss it out and replace it with a new one. But you’ll be repeating the cycle again when the new shower curtain follows the same inevitable fate. Not only does this contribute to the huge problems we’re facing with excessive waste and single-use plastic, but it’s also not cost-effective and can be easily avoided.
By following the methods and guidance listed in this article, you should be able to remove any bacteria from your shower curtain, leaving it sparkling clean and as good as new. We’ll talk you through the step-by-step process for cleaning your shower curtain safely and effectively.
How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain
Step 1: Pre-Treat Stains or Marks
The first step when cleaning your plastic shower curtain should be to pre-treat any stubborn stains, mold, or discoloration. To pre-treat, you’ll need your own DIY cleaning paste. You can make it from two parts baking soda, one part white vinegar, and one part distilled water. Mix the ingredients to create a thick paste. Both baking soda and white vinegar are excellent all-natural cleaning agents with anti-bacterial properties and the ability to neutralize odors and lift stubborn stains.
While the shower curtain is still hanging over your shower or tub, draw it out so that there are no folds and the entire curtain is visible. Taking some of your cleaning paste on a clean sponge or cloth, apply this to any stains, marks, or discoloration on the shower curtain. Allow this to soak in for around ten minutes before using your sponge or cloth (a cleaning brush would also work well here), to work the paste into the shower curtain.
Following this, use your shower head or a clean cloth to rinse the shower curtain with cool water, removing any remaining paste. You should find that the stains have lifted away and any mold or mildew has been removed.
For particularly stubborn stains, you might find that this method is a little too gentle. Instead, opt for hydrogen peroxide, an excellent natural cleaning agent with tough stain lifting abilities. Follow the guidelines on your particular bottle and apply the liquid to your shower curtain, making sure to rinse thoroughly afterward, and always wear protective gloves when working with hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide will naturally lighten the material, making it great for use on white or light curtains, but not so great on darker or patterned shower curtains. If possible, carry out a patch test on a less visible area before using it on the entire curtain.
Before moving on to the next step, ensure any pre-treatments have been thoroughly rinsed off the shower curtain.
Step 2: Machine or Hand Wash your Shower Curtain
The next step in How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain is washing it. Some plastic shower curtains are suitable for machine washing, while others will require hand washing. Both are equally effective and straightforward.
If you choose to machine wash your plastic shower curtain, ensure that you use a cool or warm setting. Washing your plastic shower curtain in a hot wash will cause it to become misshapen and may even cause melting or shrinkage.
Use your preferred chemical-free laundry detergent or, alternatively, add some baking soda into the drum of the washing machine or some white vinegar into the detergent dispenser to save on costs and utilize the ingredients you already have. Avoid any fabric softeners or conditioners when washing your plastic shower curtain.
If you choose to hand wash your shower curtain, fill a basin or tub with cool to warm water and add in your choice of detergent or liquid soap. Place the shower curtain in the water and allow it to soak for several minutes. Take a sponge or brush and scrub the shower curtain while it is submerged in the water and detergent, and then remove and rinse thoroughly.
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Step 3: Drying Your Shower Curtain
Plastic shower curtains should not be dried in a tumble dryer. This will cause them to melt and shrink and may cause permanent damage not only to the curtain but also to your dryer.
Instead, hang the curtain up to dry, preferably outdoors where there is plenty of airflow. It should dry off pretty quickly, and you can also use a towel or dry microfiber cloth to speed the process along if necessary.
While your shower curtain is drying, you could give it a spray with a mixture of equal parts distilled water, white vinegar, and a few drops of your chosen essential oils to add a fresh scent and also coat the curtain to prevent future mold growth. The distilled water and white vinegar will also prevent any watermarks from clinging to the shower curtain.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Wash My Plastic Shower Curtain?
Washing your shower curtain should be an integral part of your regular cleaning routine. As we’ve said, it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, so it’s super important that it is kept clean and sanitized to prevent this from happening.
We recommend that you carry out the deep clean detailed in this article roughly every two to four weeks, however, you should aim to wipe down and disinfect the shower curtain more regularly.
How Should I Prevent Mold and Mildew on My Plastic Shower Curtain?
Once per week, take your white vinegar and distilled water solution and spritz the entire shower curtain before wiping with a microfiber cloth and rinsing thoroughly. This should keep any bacteria at bay and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
It’s also important that the shower curtain is able to drain properly and dry out between uses. Instead of leaving it drawn back and bunched up after using the shower, pull it back out so that bacteria can’t grow in any folds or crevices and the shower curtain can dry out more efficiently.
Can you put a plastic shower curtain in the washing machine?
Yes, most plastic shower curtains or liners can be cleaned using the washing machine. Check the label or packaging on your shower curtain to see what is recommended. Just be sure to have the washing machine on the cool or warm water setting.
How do you clean a plastic shower curtain liner?
Plastic shower curtain liners can be cleaned in the same way as plastic shower curtains.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain
By following these tips on how to clean a plastic shower curtain, you should be able to keep your shower curtain consistently clean, and significantly minimize the need to replace the curtain regularly, saving you money and reducing your plastic waste.
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